MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- A national non-profit is working in the Tennessee Valley to bring the power of the great outdoors to those they call our most deserving citizens.
The National Whitetail Warrior Project mission is to help get wounded and disabled veterans into the great outdoors, enjoying hunting, and connecting with their community.
The National Whitetail Warrior Project president, Shawn Prickett, said it's not just about hunting or spending time in nature, it's also about connecting.
"I think any time you're around somebody who shares some common pain, you are more than likely to share that with them, and they are more than likely to share that with you," Prickett said. "In this particular case, I think there is something to that connectivity, between those soldiers who have shared the same things, whether it be in combat, outside of combat or otherwise."
Prickett said the project spoke to him personally as a veteran himself, but also after seeing so many veterans injured in combat.
"It is empowering I think for them to get outside. We have a lot of veterans who stay at home and don't feel motivated to go do anything," he said. "It's somewhat sad, but it is also encouraging to know that there are organizations like ours out there who want to get guys out of their houses, get them out in the outdoors, get them to connect with other folks who are just like them, and have a good time."
Last year the Whitetail Warrior Project took 54 veterans out hunting on 13 events in 5 different states including Alabama
"Last year we had a hunt in Letterkenny, Pennsylvania. We brought five veterans, they were all wounded veterans, to that event. One of them came from California, he'd never been hunting before in his life," Prickett said. "He harvested his first deer and he was ecstatic about that experience and he wants to continue to make hunting part of his life."
Volunteers run the non-profit group. They get most of their money through vehicle tag sales in Alabama. You can buy a specialized tag at your DMV or online.
The Whitetail Warrior Project will have a booth at the upcoming Buck Masters Expo in Montgomery.